Original article from Kent Live
A forensic expert from Herne Bay has revealed how he helped snare a murderer after finding a tiny pebble in his shoe.
Derek Tremain, 71, played a crucial role in the conviction of William Wilson, who beat and tortured Michael Tullet, 53, to death in 2004.
He said it was one of the most definitive pieces of evidence in all the cases he's done – and there are many.
Derek and his wife – and fellow expert – Pauline have been solving cases for almost two decades and now the pair have released a tell-all autobiography called How to Solve a Murder: True Stories from a Life in Forensic Medicine.
In the case of William Wilson, a simple pebble held the answers.
Mr Tremain, 71, told The Mirror: “The victim had been stamped on, he had footmarks on him. I said let me have a look at the marks on the shoes.
“I got images of the shoes and did a weapon and wound overlay and they seemed to match.
“When I looked at the overlay I noticed there was a small abrasion in the bruising under the skin (on one of the wounds). The abrasion matched a tiny pebble in the shoe. When I overlaid them, the stone was in exactly the same position.
“I looked at albums of the victim’s injuries and could see there were marks down his back that looked like four little keyhole marks.
“In all the cases I’ve done I’ve never seen something so definitive.”
Heartless Wilson gouged out the dad's eye while he was still alive and dumped it in a beer can in the fridge at his home in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.
Police investigating the grisly murder asked Mr Tremain if he could match a bloody handprint on the wall of the home in a bid to solve the crime.
The wallpaper could not be analysed as it was badly damaged, however the forensic expert asked to see the accused’s shoes in the hope that he could still help police.
Recalling the moment he made the breakthrough discovery, Mr Tremain said he felt a surge of excitement and shouted for his wife Pauline.
The pair, who run the company Forensic Image Services, first met at an interview day at Guy’s Hospital in London – a moment she always remembers because of a particularly gruesome discovery.
Mrs Tremain said: "I was shown around the Department of Forensic Medicine at Guy’s Hospital at my interview and we visited the 'cutting room'.
"This was a small laboratory where Derek performed all his deconstruction of body parts and organs using chemicals and maggots, believe it or not.
"There was a huge white 'brain bucket', as they were known, on the top of which floated some indescribable frothy gunk.
"I couldn’t quite work out what might be in the bucket and, as the head of department noticed this, he filled me in by saying, very matter-of-factly 'there’s a head in there'.
"Derek and I were introduced very briefly that day, but became friends as we spent time over coffee during our breaks."
Mrs Tremain explained that Derek already had a wife when they first met, however the marriage ended in 1986 and a romance soon blossomed between them.
The pair started playing squash together and having a drink after work, and soon became a couple, marrying in 1990.
After losing her job as a PA in 2002 she retrained as a business manager and teamed up with her husband to start Forensic Image Services.
They have since helped crack several major cases – and when Mr Tremain matched the pebble in Wilson's shoe to Mr Tullet's injuries his first thought was to shout for his wife.
He said: “I called Pauline down and said ‘look, look, look’.
A detective, who worked on the case, told The Mirror that Mr Tremain's evidence was 'critical' to solving the murder.
They added: "The murder of Michael Tullet was a particularly brutal, vicious and violent attack.
"Forensic examination of Michael's house showed extensive cleaning had taken place after the murder resulting in minimal forensic recovery of evidence from potential attackers.
"Of significant interest to the investigation team was a number of footwear impressions on Michael's body.
"Together with other evidence the recovery of the training shoes became a priority for the investigation team.
"An initial search of the suspect's address failed to recover any training shoes however a subsequent search conducted some time later led to the recovery of the trainers.
“I then rang the police officer and said it’s a match. I knew the person wearing it was the one who stamped on the victim’s back.”
"Derek Tremain was able to provide evidence that the recovered training shoe was indeed the shoe worn by one of the attackers.
"This was a significant piece of evidence that ultimately led to the conviction of Michael Tullet's murderer."
Manchester Crown Court heard how Wilson killed Mr Tullet after his mum said he mistreated her while they were in a relationship.
Although the defence challenged Mr Tremain’s evidence, Wilson was found guilty of murder and jailed for life in 2005.
The forensic expert said he felt ‘euphoric’ about his work helping put the killer behind bars.
Wilson is still serving time and is currently in an open jail following a Parole Board recommendation that he be transferred to a lower security facility last year.
A Parole Board spokesman told The Mirror: "The Parole Board recommended that William Wilson was suitable for a move to an open conditions prison following an oral hearing in April 2020.
"The panel carefully examined a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understood the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.
“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.
“Prisoners moved to open conditions can be returned to closed conditions if there is concern about their behaviour.”
During his career, Mr Tremain has helped snare several other murderers, including the notorious ‘Rochdale Ripper’ Michael Hardacre.
He linked the serial rapist to the murder of 65-year-old Eileen Jawczak in 2000 after inspecting the killer’s trainers.
He matched the pattern on the sole of the shoes with the injury on Mrs Jawczak’s face.
In 2001, Hardacre was jailed for life for murdering the retired school teacher, as well as raping four women and attacking or robbing at least six others.
Mr Tremain said that although he is haunted by some of the things he has seen, he found coping mechanisms to help him deal with his gruesome work.
Despite being 71, the expert has no intention of retiring and hopes to keep solving crimes through his firm Forensic Image Services.